This week, I concluded two of my summer quarter classes – General Teaching Methods and Classroom Management. Both courses have been instrumental to me and both will heavily influence my upcoming school year.
In General Methods, we concluded by writing a reflective paper on Robert Marzano’s text Classroom Instruction That Works. This assignment really helped to solidify in my mind the research, techniques, and examples from Marzano’s book. It gave me an opportunity to consider how I’ll apply the principles in my class this year. As I wrote, I was thinking of new lesson ideas and ways to add to what I already do in class. One of the things I’ll be doing a lot more of this year is looking for ways to personalize my students’ learning, from the objectives of the lesson to the application and reflection. I’ll be using questions to focus students’ attention and heighten their interest and anticipation. Another thing I will improve this year is the quality of feedback I give them. Instead of weightless comments like “good job”, I will give them focused and specific comments on ways they met objectives and ways they can continue improving.
The classroom management class has given me a fresh look at the way I manage my classroom. As a result of writing my management plan for the final class paper, I will be taking a different approach to rules and procedures this year. In my last four years of teaching, I have never really taught and practiced the procedures of my classroom. The result has been confusion, countless repeated explanations, and even frustration at time. To prepare for this year, I’ve written out a list of almost thirty procedures that I will teach my students at the onset of the year. I will give them a worksheet with each procedure, instructing them to write the procedure out in their own words and personalize it as they need to. I will discuss the importance of each procedure with them and invite their feedback. I will practice each procedure with them and periodically review procedures. I have a feeling this will greatly reduce the number of procedural infractions my students may commit throughout the year. Just by being clear about my class procedures, I will greatly enhance my overall classroom management.
This summer has been an amazing time of learning and discovery for me. The challenge now will be to utilize my learning as I work to positively impact my students’ learning this year at Cedar Park Christian School.
The first day of school is coming up. I’m excited to begin, and I anticipate reporting a number of successes on this blog throughout the coming months! I also look forward to sharing evidence of student learning!